Washington, D.C.- January 17, 2023 — Strategic Marketing Innovations, Inc. (SMI), a leading government affairs firm, has established a strategic communications practice to complement its growing success advocating on behalf of technology companies, nonprofits and research universities.

Leading it as SMI’s new Vice President for Communications Strategy is Bryan Bender, an experienced journalist and communicator with an extensive network in the national security and foreign policy communities, think tanks, trade associations and the private sector.

“Shaping the public policy debate and conversation is a critical part of many effective advocacy campaigns. Our clients are both technology and thought leaders in national security, space, energy innovation technologies and federal research,” said Bill McCann, SMI’s President.  “Bryan is uniquely qualified to build a communications practice at SMI that combines deep policy and technology knowledge, world class communications deliverables and an unparalleled network of both policy makers and journalists relevant to our clients.  This is an exciting area of growth at SMI and there’s no one better to lead it than Bryan.”

Bender brings more than two decades of experience covering the defense budget, government acquisition, climate security, nuclear arms control, and the aerospace, shipbuilding and tech industries.

As Washington Bureau Chief for Jane’s Defense Weekly and an award-winning Pentagon correspondent for the Boston Globe, Bender reported on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and military operations around the world. Most recently, he was senior national correspondent for POLITICO and defense editor of POLITICO Pro, where his beat included NASA, the Space Force, and the commercial space industry —- and he anchored the must-read newsletter Morning Defense.

Bender has also taught journalism and public relations at The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University and is author of You Are Not Forgotten.

“SMI has prided itself on helping shepherd what’s next,” Bender said. “It has a large and diverse set of clients that are driving the new technologies that will lead to a stronger global economy rooted in our democratic ideals. I’m eager to help our clients tell their story to the right policy makers and thought leaders who need to know it.”

“The global competition to build a secure and sustainable future is well underway and the opportunities to lead the way are countless — if we seize them smartly and aggressively,” he added.

A native of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Bender earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in English Writing and Political Science from University of Pittsburgh and studied Middle East politics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

He lives in Washington and Phoenix, where he is co-raising his two daughters.

Founded in 1993, SMI has been the premier choice in Washington for companies, universities, nonprofits, and industry associations for federal marketing and lobbying services focused on national security, defense, clean energy, life sciences, advanced manufacturing and research and development.